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Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata Sheet Music

by Jennifer Vose

As Beethoven's Sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor (Op. 27, No. 2) casts its dreamy, nocturnal spell, it's hard to imagine that Beethoven wasn't gazing upon his beloved, bathed in moonlight, as he penned the hauntingly-beautiful, polyrhythmic first movement (marked Adagio Sostenuto). Despite Beethoven's own sentiments that "Surely I've written better things," fellow composer Hector Berlioz (1803-1869) described the first movement as "one of those poems that human language does not know how to qualify."

This most well-known of Beethoven's sonatas, however, was not unofficially named "Moonlight" until well-after Beethoven's death when, in 1832, German music critic and poet, Ludwig Rellstab, expressed that the meditative first movement reminded him of moonlight reflecting on the waters of Lake Lucerne.

When the piece was written in the summer of 1801, Beethoven had fallen passionately in love with his 17-year-old pupil, Countess Giulietta Guicciardi. In fact, the Moonlight Sonata was eventually dedicated to her, although only after the composition originally intended for her was assigned to another patron. Giulietta accepted Beethoven's marriage proposal, but with her parents' forbiddance of the union, their life together was never to be.

The first movement is so beloved and has garnered such fame that many probably fail to realize that two additional movements take listeners on an impassioned journey that only Beethoven can forge. Often thought of as a bridge between the first and third movements, the second movement, a charming, dance-like scherzo marked "allegretto," was described by Franz Liszt (1811-1886) as "a flower between two chasms." In the third movement, marked "presto allegretto," the calm waters of the first movement are broken by a stormy cascade of notes, sending revelers far from the calm of the moonlight into a place of unbridled passion and impetuousness. Perhaps, then, it is no coincidence that it was in 1801 when, according to some accounts, Beethoven began expressing grave concerns about his impending deafness - no doubt a time of great uncertainty and turbulence.

The technical simplicity of the first movement lies in stark contrast to the third movement which, with Beethoven's many complex, often-ignored markings, is daunting for even the most virtuosic of pianists. Those who might unfairly relegate the first movement to "cliche" status will be rewarded with second and third movements that are anything but commonplace, creating a piece that, in its entirety, takes listeners and players on a quintessentially Beethovenian journey.


Rating: 5
by on February 11th, 2013
It was very good I love the app it is really useful
Rating: 5
Excellent version
by on April 16th, 2012
This is the "real" Moonlight Sonata- no shortcuts! Excellent quality sheet music, plus you get the mp3's and other files so you can hear how it's supposed to sound. Very good return for a small investment. No complaints at all.
Rating: 5
Beethoven Sonata Op.27 No. 2
by on April 11th, 2012
Challenging but well worth it!
Rating: 5
by on July 4th, 2010
Excellent is all I can say. Regards / Bernard Graux
Rating: 5
love it
by on May 22nd, 2010
I heard it when Martin L. Gore did it (Depeche mode) it inspired me to try it i love it now
Rating: 5
one of my favorites
by on December 28th, 2009
this piece, in its entirety, speaks so assuridly of beethoven's pure talent and genius. who could have thought that such beauty could have existed in a world of notes and sounds? thanks be to you, beethoven, for capturing with this wonderful sonata you've composed not only your emotions, but our hearts.
Rating: 5
by on July 5th, 2009
the most wonderful piece of music i have ever played cant get enough i would give it 10 stars if i could amazing !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Rating: 5
i love you so much that i can't even blink
by on February 27th, 2009
i love moonlight sonata the first one and i even force my music teacher to play it on piano
Rating: 5
Great Composition!
by on February 17th, 2009
Awesome download--easy and fast. Thank you, VSM.
Rating: 5
Amazing Song
by on February 6th, 2009
It is an amzing song. Hands down one of the best I have played. But it really is easier(at least to just play it)than most people think. I've only played for like 4 years and I am progressing through it at a moderate rate. The real diffuculty is getting the emotion just right. But I don't particularly like the demo on this site, not enough emotion for me. I picked this song to play becuase I love songs that are deep and leave lots of room for emotional interpretation and expression(within reason of course). Play this song! You will feel a unique sense of.. I, don't know, amazingness, emotion.. I'm not quite sure what it is.. you'll just have to find out.
Rating: 5
by on November 30th, 2008
It's a breathtaking piece that won't let you forget who Beethoven really was and what he could compose!
Rating: 5
July 17, 2008
by on July 17th, 2008
This Piece is one of the most Popular piece from Beethoven. I heard othe Pieces Like Fur Elise, Symphony No.9 This Piece is in a rate of high difficulty. Its Beautiful. Brunilda Davila
Rating: 5
Amazing song, awe inspiring
by on May 27th, 2008
I had heard this song as I was growing up through the theatre and at home at the movies and even on one of my old video games...And I had never bothered to try to figure out the song. I loved it. It was calming, it was amazing, and I just loved it. Then, one day at my new church, I was shocked at the man I knew playing piano. He was playing this wonderful Sonata. I asked him the name, and he told me. So now I'm going to be learning the song, taught by my mother. And I must thank you for posting this song on the WWW. Much thanks.
Rating: 3
by on May 16th, 2008
This song was not extremely challenging. It is too overplayed but is a nicely written piece. It certainly takes practice but it won't take a long time to master.
Rating: 5
This is the #1 piano song i like
by on February 22nd, 2008
when i heard this song i was only 6 yrs old and when i heared it..it made me think alot and cry..now i'm 19yrs old i still listen to it if i need to think or i'm in a bad mood it helps me alot..if the beethoven was alive today all i could say is'THANK YOu'
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